By Brandon Martin
The COVID-19 test site at Martinsville Speedway is now open, courtesy of a partnership that included a number of community stakeholders.
The Harvest Foundation provided $300,000 to fund the site.
“Tests are very difficult to get so that’s why we can’t just test everybody,” said Allyson Rothrock, president of the Harvest Foundation.
She added that the situation is fluid and that the organization will continue to make assessments as it unfolds.
“We may have a thousand people. We may have ten people” visit the site, Rothrock said. “We don’t know what the need is going to be. We have no idea” at this point.
In addition to the Harvest Foundation, partners included Martinsville Speedway, Sovah Health, public safety departments and first responders in Martinsville and Henry County, local law enforcement agencies and others, officials said Wednesday.
Nancy Bell, Population Health Manager and Public Information Officer for the West Piedmont Health District led media representatives on a tour, distributing masks to all of the visitors.
She said that she was appreciative of the racetrack staff and noted that the facility is the perfect location for the test site.
“It was chosen because it’s an ideal location,” Bell said. “It’s laid out where we can social distance appropriately. We can control traffic flow and have a dedicated area for our volunteers and medical people.”
A physician’s order is required for testing. If you don’t have a doctor, referrals can also be obtained through urgent health and telemedicine providers, according to Bell.
She described the testing process as quick and easy.
“You spend a couple minutes with clerical and another five minutes actually getting your test done and you are on your way,” she said.
Essentially, “you drive into the speedway and the first person you’ll run into will be a clerical-type of volunteer,” she said. “They will check and see if you have the appropriate orders and get your contact information so we can get the test results back to you. Then, they (patient) will drive down to a medical area where trained personnel will actually administer the test.”
She said the patient would then drive up in their car, lower their face mask, put the window down and the test will be taken. Bell added that patients will then be given instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on what to do, assuming the test results are positive. The patient’s medical provider who wrote the referral will provide the patient with the results.
She added that test results are expected to be received within 3-5 days of testing.
The test is nasal-based and one volunteer described the feeling as “it goes all the back into your nose as far as you can imagine, all the way to the sinuses.” He said it was extremely uncomfortable.
Bell said that the site will be open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from noon to 4 p.m. Hours of operation may change as demand grows. The site also may require an appointment if testing demands continue to grow.
The site started operations with 200 initial test kits, but more are on the way, Bell said.
The Virginia Department of Transportation assisted with planning traffic flow at the site, according to Bell. A business, Canteen Vending, and CrossPoint Church, have volunteered to feed workers at the test site.
As of April 8, 30,645 people had been tested for COVID-19 in Virginia, with 3,645 active cases, including four confirmed cases in Henry County and 12 in Franklin County. About 600 of those considered active are hospitalized. Also, as of Wednesday, there had been 75 deaths in Virginia.